Are Google’s New Search Practices Relevant?
As part of our ongoing exploration of the recent changes to Twitter, Facebook and Google, we asked Zemoga’s Head of Research Russ Ward for his take on Google’s new search practices, Here’s what he had to say:
Well it is no surprise that Google has created a great deal of discussion over its new “Search plus Your World” functionality within Google +.
The chatter all over the web includes concerns over privacy rights, security and the reactions by Twitter and how it may work with Facebook. Quite frankly everyone seems to be reticulating the same news and speculation, but how much of a leap into a new world of search do these new personalized search features afford.
So lets step back and look at what this new Personal Results button really does. From Google + a search will simply yield the usual keyword based search result – so no new functionality there.
Then, by clicking on the Personal Result button a new set of results are added based on the keyword relevance of your search to keyword data indexed within the information Google knows is within your personal data either in Circles or other public data Google has matched to you. The paper clip example Google is using shows this relevance and the simple result.
In real terms this is simply an automated advanced search with results you have most likely seen before. While being personal in nature and clever that it relates keywords to you personally, there is no real innovation here and no real ground breaking improvement to provide useful information.
But it’s what is not happening here that makes this function less useful? By default as Google is NOT scraping Twitter, Facebook or other third party social network, therefore the content presented is naturally biased by Google’s search algorithm and whatever is held in the users Circles account. It is from a search relevance perspective that this means that the Personal Results function can only provide limited results.
To put this to the test – I ran a search of my own (as a matter of disclosure I do not have any content in Google Circles) and my search results do not change in any way. This is the case with or without the Personal Results button active and occurs no matter what I search for.
The take away here is that there does not seem to be any real technological or search advantage here. Until Google gets access to other social media platforms in which you participate there is nothing more to be said because it is IRRELEVANT.
Biz Stone Clears Things Up For Us
by Sven Larsen (@svenplarsen)
Given our recent posts about Twitter and Google policy changes, it seemed only fair that we point you to MediaBistro’s coverage of Biz Stone’s clarification of Twitter censorship policies.
While it’s good to know that Twitter is retaining it’s commitment to free speech, it does point out the increasing grey zone between local law and the global nature of the net. From last year’s Wikileaks controversy to SOPA and its sister legislation, it’s increasingly unclear how governments can actually control digital content (and whether they should be trying in the first place).
Is it time to kick this up to a higher level? Should the UN or the World Court be tackling issues like this? Because despite Biz’s good natured explanation, recent discussions online have highlighted just how easy it is for corporations to arbitrarily change the rules of the net.
How do we build communications platforms that aren’t dependent on the goodwill of their inventors to maintain their openness?
Microsoft Joins the Privacy Debate
By Sven Larsen (@svenplarsen)
Continuing our weeklong theme, SOCIAL TIMES has a writeup about Microsoft’s full page ad in the Wall Street Journal attacking Google’s privacy policies. This could get nastier than the Republican primaries!
Note to Twitter …
Is the Net a Red State?
By Sven Larsen (@svenplarsen)
Is the net inherently Republican?
Most of my digital brethren (at least here in New York) would react violently to that concept but the events of this past week seem to validate the idea. Even if we’re talking more about Ron Paul’s Libertarian version of Republicanism than the usual version on offer.
Like most people in our industry I was happy to see the demise of SOPA and PIPA last week, pieces of legislation that were both overreaching and indicative of lawmakers lack of understanding of the digital space. And I was impressed by how the web community came together quickly and united in it protest of the legislation.
And while we united as one great digital community to fight off Washington, we seem to accept this behavior if it’s coming from one of our own.
Why is it acceptable for private companies to be cavalier with our personal information. Or impose features and products on us without giving us any choice in the matter? Or banning us from expressing an opinion if we happen to live in the wrong country?
Are we as a digital community saying that we don’t want government regulating Internet content, we should just let business and the free market decide how important issues are handled?
That sure sounds like Republicanism to me.
There’s nothing wrong with Republicanism. It’s a view held by a large majority of people in this country. But it’s definitely a radical change from the way the web community used to think and act. And no one seems to be drawing much attention to that.
What do you think? Is the Internet now a red state? And where are the digital democrats?
DJ’s Personal Lessons From a Decade of Digital
By Sven Larsen (@svenplarsen)
As we noted in our last post, Zemoga has been around for a better part of a decade. We’ve learned a lot as a company in that time. And our beloved CEO, DJ Edgerton has learned a number of individual lessons. So in the spirit of Friday Fun he thought he would tell you a little bit more about the knowledge he’s picked up over the last few years:
Check out our photostream on Flickr to see more fun photos of DJ and the rest of the Zemoga team
Lessons From a Decade of Digital
By Sven Larsen (@svenplarsen)
Bush was re-elected, the EU expanded and the world of digital was very different.
I’m musing about this because Zemoga just quietly celebrated a milestone. The anniversary of our incorporation on January 14th, 2004. While that date is our official birthday, DJ, Alejo and a stalwart team of young digital adventurers were working on projects for a couple of years before that. So it’s no stretch to say that Zemoga has expereinced a decade of digital.
Back then, our primary work was building websites, simple games and banner ads (and almost all of this work was done in Flash). No Facebook apps, no mobile sites, no augmented reality or location based projects. And the iPad and iPhone were still gleams in Steve Jobs’ eye. In those days, offering a wallpaper or a screensaver as a value added item was seen as forward thinking marketing. Our world has definitely changed.
Indulging in nostalgia can be fun but it also teaches us (or at least me) an important lesson. While our company and our industry prides itself on staying on top of the latest technology and anticipating future trends, our vision extends only so far. The pace of innovation is so fast these days that if we can predict what’s coming a year or 18 months from now, then we’re way ahead of the game. Figuring out the state of digital ten years from now? Forget about it.
With that in mind, our challenge as digital solutions providers is to keep our projects as open and flexible as possible. To not be too reliant on one platform or programming language, especially if it’s relatively new and unproven (How’s your MySpace page these days? Enjoying that HP tablet?). Apple, Google and Facebook are king right now but a decade ago we were talking about Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL. As one of our SoDA colleagues recently noted, the trick is to design for “people not platforms” and too make sure that your digital offerings acknowledge trends and fashion without being subservient to them. And when the world changes, project architecture and content needs to change with it.
It’s not just a recipe for an enduring digital offering but an enduring company.
I wonder what Zemoga will be working on ten years from now?
Social Media Week (New York) is Coming!
By Sven Larsen (@ Sven Larsen)
We’ve written so much about Social Media Week – Bogota on this blog that we would be remiss in not mentioning that the original version of the event is about to happen in our other hometown, New York City. Toby Daniels and team have put together what looks like their best event yet. Just check out some of these keynote speakers:
Alec Ross, Senior Advisor for Innovation of Office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Alex Bogusky, Co-Founder of Crispin Porter + Bogusky and founder of Common (we’re looking forward to seeing Alex again after meeting him at the pSFK/Al Gore event)
David Eastman, CEO of JWT North America
Don Tapscott, author of Wikinomics
Doug Rushkoff (who wrote one of our favorite books of the last couple of years, Life 2.0)
Elisa Camahort Page, COO and Co-Founder of BlogHer, Inc.
Jay Walker, Chairman and Curator of TEDMED
Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of LinkedIn
Scott Belsky, CEO and Co-Founder of Behance
and that’s only a partial list of the Keynote Speakers!
You can find the full event schedule for New York here. And don’t be surprised if you see a bunch of familiar faces at these events as well. There’s nothing the Zemoga team loves more than hearing from the best and brightest minds in the worlds of social and digital media so we’re already filling up our calendars with the events we want to attend.
See you there!